Posted 5.45pm Wednesday
Nice start and then downhill! Ground seems to ride OK to me. Lahore looks better than a handicapper. Quiet start to the Festival but it will hopefully build to Saturday!
Soft, good to soft in places (GoingStick 6.9 at 6.30am on Wednesday).
Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said at Wednesday 7.25am: “We had just 2mm of rain last night but we’ve had phenomenal winds all through the night. You could nearly walk round without getting your feet wet this morning – it’s drying. They’re not going to break any records today because this wind is blowing straight down the straight but it will be drying it.” Spoke today (Wednesday) to Simon Rowlands of Timeform about Going based on times of first two races and he replied, “No softer than “good to soft” Simon Rowlands @RowleyfileRRR Replying to @mooresthepity
I’m spitting feathers! What has happened to the field sizes at Doncaster, especially in the handicaps? Forced to take to Twitter “Simon Moore @mooresthepity @itvracing @SimonMapletoft What’s happened to the field sizes at Doncaster especially the handicaps? Thurs, Fri C2’s have 6-5-6-7-9!! #poor
Simon Moore @mooresthepity @AtTheRaces @DoncasterRaces So why are the fields so disappointing? Frustrating as a punter but could trainers explain why the Class 2 handicaps aren’t maximum fields?
Not a dicky-bird in reply!!!
Thursday Lucky 15
Doncaster 1.20 HOOFALONG @ 11/2 general
Doncaster 3.00 NATURAL SCENERY @ 9/2 general
Doncaster 3.35 GREAT PROSPECTOR @ 9/2 general
Doncaster 4.05 EUGENIO @ 10/3 WH 3/1 general
Thursday Star* Selections
Doncaster 1.20 HOOFALONG One star*win @ 11/2 general
Doncaster 1.50 CLUBBABLE Two star** win @ 5/2 general
Doncaster 2.25 DARK ROSE ANGEL One star* win @ 11/1 PP+Coral
Doncaster 2.25 TAJAANUS One star* win @ 5/1 PP 9/2 general
Doncaster 3.00 NATURAL SCENERY One star* win @ 9/2 general
Doncaster 3.35 GREAT PROSPECTOR Four star**** win @ 9/2 general
Doncaster 4.05 EUGENIO Two star** win @ 10/3 WH 3/1 general
and here are my thoughts race by race
1:20 DFS Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap (For Pro-Am Lady Riders) Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 6f2y ATR
This type of race wouldn’t normally be of any interest to me under normal circumstances but there are fifteen runners in a handicap at Doncaster and I can’t let Hoofalong go un-backed.
HOOFALONG Basically he is a Class 2 horse in a Class 3 handicap. He may be a 7yo but his last run has lots to like about it. In the 5½F Symphony on Good to Soft at York behind Desert Law, the apprentice riding was slow to get the hood off (“the friction on the gelding’s blinkers had made it difficult to remove on the first attempt.”), slow away, one behind at halfway and he ran on strongly to the line finishing a closing seventh. He runs here as he is down to OR90, he won off OR94, should get away with the ground, drawn 10 and he should get a tow down the stands rail and he is ridden by the very able Joanna Mason, who is of course grand-daughter of trainer Mick Easterby.
There is a 5lb claim if any lady hasn’t ridden five winners, so jockeys such as Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon ride on a level playing field and their mounts could be upgraded.
1:50 EBF British Stallion Studs “Carrie Red” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 6f111y ITV4
When you write in your notes “Every chance, couldn’t get to winner. Fillies nursery?” and the horse turns up in a fillies nursery over 111 yards further she cannot be ignored.
CLUBBABLE The comment was made after finishing second in the £20K Foodservice Final at Hamilton on a filthy night and this Cheveley Park daughter of Musley Bank favourite, Mayson, will love the ground and trip and the last run was in this grade. She is progressive and OR75 looks lenient.
The danger looks to be The Mums for Gosden and Dettori who is going the right way but has to give the selection ten pounds.
2:25 William Hill May Hill Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 1m ITV4
This looks a fine renewal of this Group 2 over a mile and could produce a serious 2018 Oaks contender. A case could be made for most of these but I like two in particular. I was very impressed with Dark Rose Angel over C&D and she could be special and I will have a smaller bet on the improving, form in the book, Tajaanus.
TAJAANUS Clearly the best filly in the G3 7F Sweet Solera but this was an odd race as in The Dip the whole field was across the track and two lengths front to back. That would make me doubt the strength of the form but it has been franked, not at Group level, but Tajaanus looked physically ahead of her rivals and she had the run of the race up the Stands rail. As in Ireland there is no standout 2yo filly, Billesdon Brook, Nyaleti and Tajaanus are much of a muchness.
Hannon/SJames blog “This filly (Tajaanus) will love any give in the ground and stays very well too. I loved her attitude at Sandown last time when she won her Listed race and it’s hard to knock what she’s done so far.”
DARK ROSE ANGEL Simon Crisford trains this £60K yearling daughter of Dark Angel. Visually impressive winning over 8F C5 good to firm at Doncaster. “Out well, settled, led. Quickened, lengthened, to win by four lengths and two lengths.” Topspeed 66, form yet to be franked. On debut had been an educational fifth to Dathanna at Newmarket 7F C4 on Soft in a novice event.
RP Keith Melrose, Doncaster “It is probably unusual for a trainer in their third season to have had more than a third of their winners come from juveniles, but Simon Crisford is no ordinary trainer. Godolphin’s former racing manager has enjoyed excellent patronage but has more than repaid his investors so far. All he needs now is a Group horse for his yard to really break through, and it could just be that Doncaster winner Dark Rose Angel is the filly to do it. There were a couple of well-touted fillies from big yards against her on Town Moor and, while there is reason to think neither put their best foot forward, it would also be reasonable to say Dark Rose Angel could have been more emphatic had Paul Mulrennan asked her. A step up in grade beckons, maybe even back here for the May Hill at the St Leger meeting.”
3:00 DFS Park Hill Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m6f115y ITV4
Had Coronet pencilled in for this for a while but looks like she’ll take on the boys in the St. Leger itself. Ten go to post and can the 3yo’s make use of the ten pounds they receive from the older mares? I don’t think so and with the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood a reliable signpost for this race I’ll go with two who ran there before they both took part in the Ebor handicap, Dubka and Natural Scenery, just favouring the latter.
DUBKA She was my Ebor selection but I’m not sure she got the trip. This race won’t be as helter-skelter, she’ll relish this softer ground and was only beaten a neck in the 14F G3 Lillie Langtry. She has twice been second at G3 level and has won on Town Moor on Soft ground over 12F and has the valuable assistance of Ryan Moore.
NATURAL SCENERY Is she could enough to win a Group 2? Second in the Northumberland Plate, fourth in the Lillie Langtry and a desperately unlucky third in the Ebor when I put in my Ebor festival review, “The one “unlucky” horse in that messy part of the Ebor handicap around the 2F pole and Ed Greatrex ended up having to go round the houses to get a run and she flew to grab third. The handicapper has put her up three pounds OR104 to 107 and it will be interesting to see where Godolphin go with her. The obvious long term target would be back to the AW Stayers Championship at Lingfield next Easter, she was sent off 4/1F last April but had a troubled run there last year. Typical of Godolphin her current entries are “ambitious”.”
As for a bet and it’s 9/2 the field, it’s Natural Scenery to get a clear run and outstay them all with Jim Crowley doing the business for Godolphin.
3:35 Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 6f111y ITV4
GREAT PROSPECTOR He was my next best bet for the whole York Ebor Festival when in my opinion he was a desperately unlucky second in the Sales race there. As I whinged in my Ebor review, “Right, now the valuable 6F Sales race. Tangled beat Great Prospector and Hey Jonesy a neck and half a length. The fourth Alba Power a length and a half away and a further three lengths to the fifth, the filly Darkanna. I am convinced Paul Hanagan has been blind-sided here! He straightens Great Prospector up a furlong out and to him it’s just the rapid and unfortunately high drawn Hey Jonesy he has to pick up and he feels quite happy about that so delays his attack and drifts towards the stands side. Meanwhile Tangled has burst between horses and nicked a length and Great Prospector now has to chase him down on the far side and fails by just a neck with the pair of them beating Hey Jonesy. The Official handicapper has given the first three marks of OR102 (up a stone since winning his nursery), OR105 and OR103 and that would have put all three right in the thick of the action in the G3 Acomb and with the time quicker than Threading’s victory in the Lowther half an hour later if the first five in the Sales race met the first four in the Acomb I would be all over Great Prospector.”
I am convinced this horse is Group 2 material, he has an extra half furlong here and he is drawn next door to Tangled this time. Not surprisingly Great Prospector heads the market and with Tangled and Alba Power next in I have Great Prospector as a good thing!! I think he will be even better over 7/8F and it wouldn’t surprise me if he wins this race he appears in G1 PRIX JEAN-LUC LAGARDERE (GRAND CRITERIUM) at Chantilly on Arc weekend!
4:05 crownhotel-bawtry.com Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2f43y ATR
EUGINIO Thought this looked an ideal race for Euginio who has really strong form in the book and was looking forward to getting stuck into him at 6/1 and upwards. I can’t believe there is a field of just FIVE for a C2 handicap!
Euginio was second to the classy but currently AWOL Middle Kingdom at HQ on seasonal debut, won well at Sandown in this grade over today’s trip, a solid third to Frankuus in the G3 Rose of Lancaster when Frankuus nicked it off the front and most recently a hampered fifth to Thundering home back at Sandown. Hopefully the ground will keep drying as Euginio was withdrawn at the Goodwood Festival for “unsuitable ground”. Town Moor specialist Andrea Atzeni rides and I’m sweet on their chances but the iffy ground and a five runner field mean a reduced stake.
4:35 Breeders’ Series EBF Fillies’ Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-100) 1m3f197y ATR
No play. Now down to just six runners I just can’t have any enthusiasm for the contest with no Notebook/Radar entries.
Doncaster 2.20 SHABAABY 1st 13/8 Two star** win @15/8 Lad+Coral
Travelled easily on the ground (Favourite Demons Rock didn’t), led two out and hacked up. John Kirkup ran on to be a distant, seven length, second and we open the Festival with a 1-2, £8.53 sfc.
Doncaster 2.50 GUZMAN 4th 8/1 One star*each way @ 9/1 general
Probably just needs to grow up mentally. Still too keen early, even in the hood, one pace final furlong, should have grabbed third. Maybe the ground wasn’t ideal, stays firmly on the radar! BHA Stewards “ Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that GUZMAN, placed fourth, and TOOMER, unplaced, had both lost right fore shoes”
Doncaster 4.20 HYDE PARK 5th 11/2 One star* win @13/2 BF +PP
Every chance 2F out but one pace. Winner, Lahore, clearly useful.
Doncaster 4.20 SIX STRINGS 7th 6/1 One star* win @ 8/1 general
Lost race in first two furlongs when just didn’t settle and although every chance 2F out fuel gauge was on red! Better ground, bigger field? Winner, Lahore, clearly useful.
Doncaster 4.50 MIRAGE DANCER 4th 11/10F Two star** win @15/8 BF+Coral 15p in £ R4
Small field nightmare! Oisin Murphy may not be “strong enough” but here he’s done Ryan Moore up like a kipper!
(8 stars out – 5.75 stars back)